November 29, 2010

Sandra R. Spagnoli Selected as New San Leandro Police Chief

Sanda_Spagnoli.jpg San Leandro City Manager announced today that Benicia Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli has been selected as San Leandro's new police chief. Spagnoli replaces Ian Willis, who will retire at the end of this year. She served four years as Benicia's police chief and served with the San Carlos Police Department for the previous 16 years.

Spagnoli's appointment comes after the City of San Leandro settled four lawsuits from female police department employees for $405,000 and three lawsuits remain pending. Willis and his predecessor, Dale Attarian, had been promoted from within the police department and both announced their retirements after serving less than two years as police chief.

Spagnoli becomes San Leandro's 10th police chief and its first female police chief.

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San Leandro Police Town Hall Tuesday Nov. 30

slpd_logo.png The San Leandro Police Department will hold a community town hall meeting at 6pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010. The event flyer states that topics will include tips for burglary prevention, personal safety, holiday safety tips, and recent crime statistics. Wayne Gregori will present information about LicenseLOOK, an online tool for crime prevention.

The meeting will take place at 6pm at the Marina Community Center at 15301 Wicks Boulevard.

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November 19, 2010

Registrar Certifies November Election Results; Cassidy the Official Winner

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced today the official final results of the November 2, 2010, election. The official results were released 11 days ahead of the November 30 deadline to certify the election results.

San Leandro Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy defeated incumbent Tony Santos by 232 votes in San Leandro's first ranked choice voting election. Santos had 62 more first-place votes than Cassidy (7,956 to 7,894), but Cassidy took the lead when Sara Mestas' second-place votes were distributed to Cassidy, Santos, and Joyce Starosciak.

In the District 1 City Council race, the final result was Michael Gregory with 12,973 votes (65.05%) and David Anderson with 6,701 votes (33.6%). Write-in candidate Carol Libbrecht received 120 votes (0.6%).

Incumbent Diana Souza was unopposed for the District 3 City Council seat.

In District 5, Pauline Cutter received 10,719 votes (53.21%) to defeat Corina Lopez, who received 9,215 votes (45.74%).

The 0.25% sales tax increase, Measure Z, passed with 12,630 votes (61.11%) and the $50.1 million school bond, Measure M, passed with 10,638 votes (63.08%).

In San Leandro School Board races, Lance James received 8,244 votes (57.14%) to defeat Victoria Wang, who received 6,056 votes (41.97%) and incumbent Mike Katz [Note: the author] had 8,432 votes (58.05%) over Latrina Dumas' 5,963 votes (41.05%).

The complete election results for Alameda County can be found at

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San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Open House on Dec. 7, 2010

According to a flyer from the Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, an Open House on the San Leandro Creek hazardous tree removal will be held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.

The flyer states, "The Open House will feature a variety of exhibit stations that will provide an overview of the project, the tree-risk rating system, the environmental review process, schedule, and information on the construction plans."

This is the sixth meeting focusing on the proposed removal of trees considered hazardous from three areas of San Leandro Creek near Huff Avenue, Cary Drive, and St. Marys Avenue. Workshops were previously held on June 22, June 29, July 13, and August 25, 2010, after an initial meeting at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010.

The Open House will be held at Bancroft Middle School at 7pm on December 7, 2010. Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

For more information, see

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November 17, 2010

Registrar Says All San Leandro Ballots Have Been Counted

According to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, all ballots from the November 2, 2010, election have been counted. That means that the vote counts released on November 13, 2010, will likely be final.

On Monday, November 15, 2010, the Registrar began a manual tally of 1% of the votes cast, a standard procedure conducted after every election. The deadline for Registrar to certify the vote is November 30, but the Registrar hopes to be able to certify the vote on November 19.

Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy and newly elected and re-elected members of the San Leandro City Council will be sworn in at the end of the December 20, 2010, meeting. Each person will have the opportunity to give a speech after they are sworn in. You can see the speeches from 2008 here.

At the November 15 meeting of the San Leandro City Council, City Attorney Jayne Williams was asked to respond to RCV concerns expressed by Mayor Tony Santos. Williams said that she agreed with the analysis by FairVote's Rob Richie and stated, "It is a 50% plus one vote of the votes cast per round and then the majority candidate is declared the winner. So there has been some discussion that I'm aware of in terms of the interpretation of that as it pertains to our charter but I do believe that our charter comports with the ordinance that was adopted by the Council in April which sets forth clearly what the process was."

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November 15, 2010

Boat Harbor Basin Town Hall Meeting on Wed. Nov. 17

The City of San Leandro will host a second Town Hall meeting on the San Leandro Marina Boat Harbor Basin at 7pm on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. An earlier meeting held on November 9, 2010, had between 50 and 60 participants.

According to the press release, the City of San Leandro has been working with Cal-Coast Development and the 33-member Shoreline Development Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a plan for development at the Marina.

The City is seeking ideas for the boat harbor that assume the continued use of the boat harbor for small boats, continuation of the boat launch for as long as possible, attractive and conforming to existing uses, and maintain public access to water-related activities.

The meeting will be held at 7pm at the Marina Community Center at 15301 Wicks Boulevard. For more information or to share your ideas, contact Debbie Pollart at

If you can't make the meeting, the presentation is available at and video of the previous meeting can be seen after the break.

Cynthia Battenberg, San Leandro Business Development Manager (split into two parts):

Mike Bakaldin, San Leandro Public Works Director:

Debbie Pollart, San Leandro Planning Manager

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Encore of Race to Nowhere Tomorrow at Bal Theatre

An encore screening of the documentary film "Race to Nowhere" will take place at the Bal Theatre in San Leandro on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. According to the film's promotional material, it is "about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform."

The 85-minute film has local connections, with scenes filmed at Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro and Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. Maimone Attia, the film's writer and cinematographer, attended Roosevelt Elementary, Bancroft Middle School, and San Leandro High School.

Writer Maimone Attia and Roosevelt teacher Richard Fishbaugh will be on-hand to introduce the film and participate in a question-and-answer session after the movie.

A review from the Los Angeles Times said ""Race to Nowhere" offers hope in the form of new models. For starters, there's the no-homework movement. Imagine." According to the New York Times, the film "doesn't entirely succeed" in presenting "a single, clear, narrative" but does "admirably convey the complexity of the issue with considerably more compassion than prescription." writes, "The groundbreaking documentary, Race to Nowhere is an investigation into the pressures American children and their teachers face in our achievement-obsessed education system and culture. See if the film is screening in your area. You’ll be inspired to make some changes, big and small, for the health of your kids."

The movie begins at 7pm. The Bal Theatre is located at 14808 East 14th Street in San Leandro. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Bal Theatre web site.

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November 14, 2010

New Vote Counts Increase Cassidy's Lead

In new vote counts released by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on Saturday, November 13, 2010, San Leandro Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy increased his lead over incumbent Tony Santos from 172 votes to 231 votes after invoking the ranked choice algorithm. This gives Cassidy 50.57% of the continuing ballots cast to 49.43% for Santos. There were 2,134 exhausted ballots out of 23,493 ballots cast and a total of 20,321 continuing ballots in the final round.

Santos has not conceded the race and has recommended that the San Leandro City Council revoke the ranked choice voting ordinance and that the City return to run-off elections.

The totals also show that write-in Lou Filipovich received nine write-in votes, with most of his second-place votes going to John Palau. Cassidy received the most of Sara Mestas' and Joyce Starosciak's second-place votes.

In the District 1 San Leandro City Council race, Carol Libbrecht is shown with 120 write-in votes compared to 148 unknown write-in votes. Incumbent Michael Gregory won the contest with nearly double the votes of challenger David Anderson and 65.05% of the vote.

San Leandro School Board member Pauline Cutter defeated Corina Lopez 53.21% to 45.75% of the votes.

Measure M, the San Leandro Unified School District athletic facilities bond surpassed 63% approval in the latest results tally, while Measure Z, the City's 0.25% sales tax, held on to its 61% approval.

The vote won't be certified for a few more weeks, but the results are unlikely to change.

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November 10, 2010

Cassidy Lead Narrows in New Vote Count

Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy's lead narrowed to just 172 votes today in the race for mayor in San Leandro's first use of ranked choice voting. A previous run of the ranked choice voting algorithm on Friday, November 5, 2010, had Cassidy with a 281-vote lead over incumbent San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos. The unofficial count gives Cassidy 10,119 votes to 9,947 for Santos.

Data from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters show that 941 San Leandro voters didn't vote for any candidate in the Mayor's race and 52 voted for more than candidate. There were a total of 23,184 ballots cast and 20,066 ballots with votes in the final round.

According to coverage in the Daily Review, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters acknowledges that there could be a small number of ballots that are not yet counted, but not enough to change the outcome of the race.

Prior to the ranked choice algorithm, Santos had taken the lead by 117 votes. Cassidy had led by 58 votes as of the November 5 vote count. Once again, Cassidy received the most of Sara Mestas' second place votes, but was behind by 51 votes until Joyce Starosciak's second place votes were allocated. Cassidy received 1,960 of Starosciak's second place votes compared to 1,737 for Santos.

Cassidy served on the San Leandro School Board from 2004 to 2008. Santos served on the San Leandro City Council from 1984 to 1992 and again from 2002 to 2006, when he was elected Mayor.

Results will not be final until later this month.

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November 8, 2010

County Registrar Violated Agreement with Cities on Ranked Choice Voting

When the Alameda County Registrar of Voters ran the ranked choice algorithm on November 5, 2010, it violated a Memorandum of Understanding it agreed to with the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro.

The agreement clearly states, "Given the nature of RCV voting, the Registrar shall not under any circumstances, provide any RCV election results until all of the ballots have been tallied, including, but not limited to, vote by mail, provisional, and early voting ballots. The Registrar will provide only final election results once all of the ballots have been tallied."

The Registrar ran the ranked choice algorithm on November 5, 2010, with an estimated 15,000 ballots still to be counted. An estimated 2,000 ballots from San Leandro have yet to be counted.

Earlier today, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters issued a press release acknowledging that the counting of ballots for Oakland will not be completed today. ""We still have a relatively small number of provisional ballots that are taking a little longer to process than expected," stated Alameda County Registrar Dave Macdonald.

The press release indicated that updated vote totals would be released this afternoon, but the ranked choice algorithm would not be run tonight. Vote counting is done each day until 10pm, so there is still a chance that updated vote totals will be released later tonight.

The latest vote count on November 5, 2010, prior to the RCV algorithm shows Stephen Cassidy with a 58 vote advantage over Tony Santos in the race for San Leandro Mayor. That lead extends to 281 votes after RCV is implemented.

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November 5, 2010

Stephen Cassidy is San Leandro's New Mayor

Stephen Cassidy is San Leandro's new Mayor after the ranked choice algorithm was run by the Alameda County Registrar of voters on Friday, November 5, 2010.

Cassidy ended up with 7,471 (50.96%) votes to 7,190 (49.04%) for Tony Santos. The majority of Joyce Starosciak's votes went to Cassidy. See the detailed report at

The vote count is not final, but Cassidy's lead prior to the RCV algorithm increased from 27 votes yesterday to 58 today. When RCV was run, Cassidy gained 37% of Mestas' second/third place votes and 53.2% of Starosciak's second place votes.

According to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, 15,000 ballots from Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro remain to be counted. San Leandro's portion of those uncounted ballots is unknown. 16,698 ballots have been counted so far, including 447 ballots in which no vote was cast for the Mayor's race and two ballots where the voter marked more than one candidate as their first choice for Mayor.

In the November 2006 election, which most closely approximates this election, 20,298 votes were cast for Mayor. In November 2002, 16,857 were cast for Mayor. Based on those numbers, it appears that up to 4,000 San Leandro ballots may have yet to be counted, but are unlikely to change the outcome of the election.

Historically, no elected Mayor has been defeated since at least Jack Maltester was elected in 1962. However, John Faria, who was appointed Mayor in June 1993, lost his bid to remain Mayor in April 1994 to Ellen Corbett.

Ballots will continue to be counted over the weekend and final results should be available Sunday.

Updated 10:33pm

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November 4, 2010

Updated Numbers Narrow Cassidy's Lead to 27 Votes Over Santos

Additional ballots counted by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters today narrowed Stephen Cassidy's lead in the race for San Leandro Mayor to 27 votes over incumbent Tony Santos. Today's vote count for the Mayor's race totals 15,010, an increase of 736 from yesterday's count.

Final results of the race for San Leandro mayor won't be known until 4pm on Friday, November 5, when the Registrar runs the ranked choice algorithm. The eventual winner will be decided by Joyce Starosciak's second place votes.

Mayoral results so far:

Stephen Cassidy532235.46%
Tony Santos529535.28%
Joyce Starosciak357623.82%
Sara Mestas5723.81%
John Palau2441.63%

Here are the updated totals for the San Leandro City Council races where Pauline Cutter and Michael Gregory were the winners.

District 1:

David Anderson442033.43%
Michael Gregory879766.53%

District 5:

Pauline Cutter723654.30%
Corina Lopez608545.66%
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November 3, 2010

Lopez Loans Her Campaign Another $7,000 Day Before Election

San Leandro District 5 City Council defeated candidate Corina Lopez loaned her campaign another $7,000 on November 1, 2010, according to a statement filed on November 2, 2010, with the San Leandro City Clerk. To date, Lopez has loaned her campaign $29,621 of the $38,561 total she has raised.

Pauline Cutter, the winner of the District 5 City Council seat, reported no campaign debt and a total of $13,942 raised in her most recent filing on October 21, 2010. Cutter replaces Bill Stephens who will be termed out after serving eight years on the City Council.

Contributions of more than $1,000 are required to be reported within 24 hours in the weeks leading up to the election. The election was held on November 2, 2010.

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James Joins San Leandro School Board; Katz Re-elected

With all 45 precincts reporting, Hayward teacher Lance James and incumbent Mike Katz [the author] cruised to comfortable victories over their opponents for the San Leandro School Board.

Both James and Katz received nearly 57% of the vote.

Katz was elected to the School Board in 2006 when he defeated Pete Lismer.

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November 2, 2010

City Sales Tax and School Bond Pass

Measure Z, the 0.25% sales tax increase, passes with more than 61% of the vote and all 49 precincts reporting.

Similarly, Measure M, the $50.1 million school bond, passes with nearly 63% of the vote and all 45 precincts reporting.

Updated 1:08am

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Cassidy Leads Mayors Race; Cutter and Gregory Win

With all 49 precincts reporting, Stephen Cassidy is leading the race for San Leandro Mayor by just 66 votes over incumbent Tony Santos. Joyce Starosciak is a distant third. Incumbent Michael Gregory has a huge lead in the District 1 City Council race and Pauline Cutter has a smaller, but still substantial lead in the District 5 City Council race. Gregory retains his seat and will be joined by San Leandro School Board member Cutter.

Final results of the race for San Leandro mayor won't be known until later this week. With ranked choice voting, the eventual winner will be decided by Starosciak's second place votes.

Mayoral results so far:

Stephen Cassidy35.53%
Tony Santos35.07%
Joyce Starosciak23.87%
Sara Mestas3.87%
John Palau1.65%

District 1:

David Anderson33.71%
Michael Gregory66.25%

District 5:

Pauline Cutter54.24%
Corina Lopez45.73%

Updated 1:03am

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Starosciak Reports Late In-Kind Contribution from Polling Firm

San Leandro mayoral candidate Joyce Starosciak reported an in-kind contribution of $1,500 from a polling firm, according to a report filed today with the San Leandro City Clerk. According to the filing, the in-kind contribution was received on November 1, 2010.

The polling firm, EMH Opinion Sampling in Sacramento, was also paid $10,000 in early October 2010 by Nadia Lockyer, who is running for Alameda County Supervisor. Starosciak and Lockyer have both paid for Tramutola to run their campaigns.

Starosciak previously reported a $1,000 late contribution from Ken Houston on October 22, and $4,000 from the Economic Development Alliance on October 25, 2010.

Starosciak's reported campaign contributions (cash only) now total more than $71,000, including $21,589 transferred from her City Council campaign account.

Contributions of more than $1,000 are required to be reported within 24 hours in the weeks leading up to the election. The election is today and polls are open until 8pm. If you haven't mailed your absentee ballot, you can turn it in at any polling station. It is too late to mail in absentee ballots.

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Council Approves $10k Reward for Monarch Bay Killers; Takes Step to Extend Pot Moratorium

At its meeting on November 1, 2010, the San Leandro City Council unanimously approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the individual(s) responsible for the double homicide at Monarch Bay Golf Course on October 9, 2010.

The Council also approved and issued a report that is required before it can extend the moratorium for an additional 22 months and 15 days on "medical marijuana dispensaries, marijuana cultivation facilities or other land uses" should Proposition 19 be approved today. The extension of the moratorium will discussed at a City Council Work Session on November 8, 2010, and is scheduled for a voted at the November 15, 2010, meeting.

In seeking the Council's approval of the $10,000 reward, San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis stated his case to the City Council, "Unfortunately, through normal means of interviewing and asking them to cooperate with us and give us the information has not worked. As you can figure, they are probably fearful of retaliation. So our next option is to offer this reward and hope that our detectives are able to go back out and speak to some of the witnesses and get them to come forward."

Vice Mayor Ursula Reed asked if American Golf, the firm managing the golf course for the City, might be willing to match the City's reward. Willis responded, "Well I'm hoping they'll do a match. They haven't committed to anything yet, although they have said they are very interested in putting forth some money toward a reward."

In response to Councilmember Diana Souza's question about the source of the money, Willis said that "The money will come out of existing budget money for…in our investigations division for consulting. We have money budgeted there that we can use."

According to Willis, the last time the City offered a reward was in 1996 in a fetus homicide case and before that, the Evelyna LeBlanc murder at Jefferson Elementary in 1994. Rewards were not paid in either case: LeBlanc's case was solved in 2007 based on DNA evidence while the 1996 fetus homicide case remains unsolved.

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November 1, 2010

Lopez Reports Late Loan of $9,500

San Leandro District 5 City Council candidate Corina Lopez loaned her campaign $9,500 on October 28, 2010, according to a statement filed on November 1, 2010, with the San Leandro City Clerk. To date, Lopez has loaned her campaign $22,621 of the $31,561 total she has raised.

Pauline Cutter, Lopez' opponent for the District 5 City Council seat, reported no campaign debt and a total of $13,942 raised in her most recent filing on October 21, 2010.

Contributions of more than $1,000 are required to be reported within 24 hours in the weeks leading up to the election. The election will be held on November 2, 2010.

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